Activist released from military court on LE20,000 bail for Facebook post

<p>Asmaa Mahfouz</p>

Egypt’s military prosecution on Sunday launched an investigation against Asmaa Mahfouz, a 26-year-old activist accused of insulting the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) and calling for armed operations against the military and the judiciary.

Mahfouz was released on LE20,000 bail, said Noor Ayman Nour, an activist with the No Military Trials for Civilians group, from outside the military prosecution’s office. Shortly after speaking to Al-Masry Al-Youm, Nour was detained by military police.

The case against Mahfouz, number 55/2011, accuses the activist of using her Facebook page to call for assassinations of SCAF members and certain judges, the state-owned Middle East News Agency (MENA) reported.

“If the judiciary doesn’t give us our rights, nobody should be surprised if militant groups appear and conduct a series of assassinations because there is no law and there is no judiciary,” Mahfouz wrote on Facebook, according to MENA.

General Adel al-Morsy, head of the Military Justice Commission, issued a statement saying Mahfouz’s Facebook post was not a matter of freedom of expression, but rather an incitement to violence and an insult to boththe army and SCAF.

The statement called onthe media and the public to check Mahfouz’s Facebook account to judgewhether she was giving an opinion or calling for the formation of armedgroups to conduct assassinations.

Mahfouz’s supporters on the microblogging website Twitter argue that her post warned of the negative consequences of not trying former regime members in a serious manner.

Mahfouz wrote on her Twitter account Saturday that she was requested to appear before the military prosecution. She suggested that she might be under investigation because of a phone interview she gave to Al-Jazeera on 23 July during clashes between pro-revolution protesters and residents of Abbasseya, a Cairo neighborhood.

Hundreds of protesters were injured on 23 July during a march to the SCAF headquarter to urge the ruling council to speed up reforms.

“We are against the corruption of SCAF, which covers for Mubarak and his aides,” Mahfouz told the pan-Arab satellite network.

During the clashes, Mahfouz also told Al-Jazeera that the “army protected the thugs” by cordoning off the protesters before they were attacked. She added that the march is to protest against SCAF’s corruption, and their hesitation in speeding up the trial of former President Hosni Mubarak.

Mubarak’s trial began on 3 August.

The military has previously brought activists in for investigation in response to public statements on television. In May, activist Hossam al-Hamalawy was summoned by the military prosecutor due to his on-air criticism against SCAF. He accused Egypt’s military rulers of attacking civilian protesters and referring them to military trials.

In April, blogger Maikel Nabil, received a three-year prison sentence by a military court after he documented various violations by the military against civilian protesters.

Mahfouz is one of the founders of the April 6 Youth Movement, which has been singled out by the SCAF for defamation, though she is no longer a part of the movement. She appeared in a YouTube video in January calling on Egyptians to protest against Mubarak’s regime on 25 January.

Activist released from military court on LE20,000 bail for Facebook post | Al-Masry Al-Youm: Today’s News from Egypt.

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